Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristi Neilson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristi. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I like taking pictures and always have. It didn’t really start from a creative place though. It came from a documentary standpoint. My dad had cancer for many years when I was a kid. He ended up passing away when I was 12 from it and during that time, my mom wouldn’t take pictures of him because he looked sick. She said she didn’t want us remembering him that way. While I understand what she was trying to do-it became one of my biggest regrets in life. Regret that I didn’t have a camera to take the pictures myself, that I didn’t force her to document us together in our final years with one another. There is now a large chunk in the short time I had with him that there or no photographs. It still breaks my heart.
I set out on a mission to take photos of everyone and everything I love after that. I already enjoyed taking pictures so it was an easy enough task. I decided I wanted to go to college for photography. I went to Rochester Institute of Technology from 2010-2014 for Fine Art Photography. In my time there, I did documentary work about my families farm and my own journey at that time as a woman. I started photographing other women besides myself once I got a little more comfortable and felt really liberated by making them feel beautiful and or confident. I didn’t want to sexualize women as it seemed everyone else was, I wanted to empower them and help them feel beautiful in their own way. This led me down a fashion editorial path which is where I am now.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wouldn’t say the journey has been smooth but I wouldn’t expect it to be! I wanted to drop out of college freshman year. It was hard! I didn’t know what I was doing and many of my peers had gone to specialty art high schools and were light years ahead of me. Then after graduating, I came to Los Angeles with a dream like hundreds of thousands of others have. I have been homeless living in my car, bank account has been -500$ with rent due in days. I once had an internship as well as a full-time job and almost lost my paying job. I went 45 days straight working both and thought I was losing my mind. It all paid off though and I am glad I did what I did. It all needed to happen!
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently shooting fashion and lifestyle and am based in Los Angeles. I have been told I have a very “LA” style and approach. I like to think of it as a dreaminess. I specialize in photographing people. Lots of artists, musicians, models and personalities. I am not sure I am known for something in particular but I do believe when someone sees my pictures, they can tell they are mine. I have developed my own style that is consistent throughout my work. I primarily shoot film. 35mm and 120 which without a doubt has a different feel than digital. It just slows me, my subject and the viewer down a bit. It’s romantic. It’s timeless. It is telling of my subject. I’m proud that I’ve never gotten a bad review. People seem to enjoy working with me and feel good about my process. They also usually adore the images afterwards. It really is a win win.
I also have been documenting the farm I grew up on for the last 1o years and am in the process of printing a book! I am beyond excited about it and to share the images with the world.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have taken high school and college a little more seriously. We had a terrible art program in my High School but I could have sought out clubs and organizations to familiarize myself more. In college, I could have partied less and nurtured my learning more. With all of that said- It is the real-world experience that has truly developed me into who I am today. Overall- I would have picked the same trail to follow. I like where I am and what I put into the world.
- Website: kristineilson.com
- Phone: 8609862859
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: kristineilson
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